During a 2009 interview for a STAR Labour Day supplement, Elijah Greenidge, a former Trade Unionist, expressed concern for what was happening with the Trade Union movement here.
“Egos and self-serving individuals,” he said, were getting in the way of persons serving their country and helping to improve work ethics and working conditions in Saint Lucia. When we spoke, it was during some unrest between unions and the government. Always one to share his knowledge and experience, interspersed with scriptual reference as stern as his immediate expressions sometime appeared, it was
not easy to get a laugh out of him. Or was it the other way around? In fact always the humorous storyteller, he found a way to infuse this in his role as JP, officiating weddings at various locations.
Amidst a tide of growing upheaval within public sector unions and the government this week, Greenidge, who was a former president of the Seamen, Waterfront and General Workers Trade Union, passed on Wednesday June 25 at the age of seventy. He is said to have been suffering with colon cancer for which he was treated in the US sometime last year.
A resident of Reduit, Gros Islet, Greenidge was a past President of the Kiwanis Club of Castries, a former Senator, store owner and a Methodist Church lay preacher. He later formed his own Christian Ministry, hosting a religious television program on Sunday mornings on DBS TV.
The President of the Saint Lucia Seamen, Waterfront and General Workers Union, Vernantius Popo, in paying tribute to Geenidge, told The STAR Thursday that from all he knew he was a dedicated and hard worker. “Brother Eli served on the executive of the Union in various capacities including trustee, treasurer and of course president,” Popo says.
“He worked hard to gain recognition not just for the Union itself but for the workers. And when there were grievances he never hesitated to challenge those in authority and employers. So all in all I will say he was a dedicated trade unionist, someone who was always willing to lend an ear and one who served with a certain conscience and conviction,” Popo added.
Elijah Greenidge is survived by his wife Karleen, three children and two grandchildren.